Business Strategy Consulting – Day 26: How to brand yourself, and… how NOT to

*** Over 30 days, I’m giving you “big ideas” to solve real-life marketing challenges.  To submit your problem for consideration, follow the format today’s subscriber used, and then hit “reply” with your own specific details and challenges.  My assistant will filter through these replies and forward me the best ones to review.  MOST important – if you like what you are reading, show me some love, and forward this information around to a few of your friends and associates ***

Let’s listen to Marilyn Burstin’s question.  “I am an independent agent and financial advisor.  I market my insurance business to both small groups (employee benefits) and individuals, and as a financial advisor I market my services to a school district 403b and to individuals.

I need to get people to know about me, to find merit in the services I offer.  I need to develop a brand identity for my business — and so far I have not been able to establish this brand.  I want people to know I am not the typical advisor, but, that I am someone who is creative and interested in their well being.  Please help, Marilyn”

For starters, branding is a lot more than just about a logo or a design.  And since virtually NO small business can afford to brand themselves in the conventional way you and I know of, you should instead focus on something much more affordable.

It’s a strategy that allows you to charge top-dollar, and it’s something that’s far more powerful than branding.  And yet… it accomplishes in its own way, the same thing and more, especially for entrepreneurs.

What you need to focus on is… “positioning.”  And unfortunately, coming out and telling people “I am not the typical advisor, I am actually interested in your well-being,” is actually NOT good positioning.

And here’s why:  Because this is what everyone says.  Everyone says they’re different, they care more, they really take things personally, no one’s just a client – you are a human being… blah blah blah.

This is so worn-down and overused it’s like someone running an ad that says “we’re the best,” “we are number one,” “tastiest french fries,” “best soda pop” and so on.

It’s meaningless.  It’s so vague and unspecific and overused, it means nothing.

It’s like when a kid comes into school and tells the teacher he didn’t do his homework because he didn’t know they had homework.  Even though they’ve had homework every single day since the school year began.

Things like this just roll over your prospects heads – they literally don’t even hear these things being said, regardless how loud you’re screaming.

And even more important, you can’t “tell” anyone you’re different, or that you actually care about them.  This is something people have to come to their own conclusion about.

It’s like when you were dating, and then you suddenly realized the person you were with, meant a little more to you because they were different.  If they would have told you up front, “Hey, I’m different and I’m going to prove it to you right now…”  Chances are good you would have ran for the hills as fast as you can – another psycho, you don’t need, right?

OK then, so the real question is, how do you position yourself so you’re able to convey this to your prospects properly.  How do you make yourself different?

In this particular situation, you want to use two-step lead generation.  You want to send out an advertorial (like the one on page 66 in my book), that promotes some kind of free report that contains extremely relevant, timely, and compelling information inside.

In this case, something like, (let’s focus on the insurance business) “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Employers Make With Their Benefits Plan, That Are Costing Them THOUSANDS Of Dollars, Month-In And Month-Out.”

See, basically you want to make your customers better consumers.  You want them to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about employee benefit plans.  And you want them to be better shoppers.

You want them to know that all the mistakes other companies are making, don’t happen to your clients because you have a special process in place that avoids them.  And, because you’re transparent about things.

Now if you do this… and if you’re able to communicate this effectively… your prospects are going to be thinking to themselves, “Wow, this woman’s different.  She actually cares about her clients, not like loads of other advisors.”

Make sense?

See how this works now?

See how much better your positioning is, when you let other people come to conclusions about who you are, instead of trying to force them into thinking what you want them to be thinking about you.

It’s also far more organic when it comes down to it.  Don’t you think?

And I know from personal experience here as well as client experience – I used to run a financial planning practice.  So I’ve actually done what I’m suggesting here, and it works like gangbusters.

This was a good question because loads of entrepreneurs are looking to “brand” themselves.  In “How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers,” I reveal an important insight about branding, and while I obviously couldn’t discuss it with you here, I think Marilyn’s probably going to be able to solve her problem now.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S.  True story: Former NYC cab driver rakes in over $48,305 per month?

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About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)